All the news from Mens and Womens Track.

Shelby Houlihan-SC EAST - ASU and Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby 2017

Thursday, June 21 USA Track & Field Championship Preview

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Jenny Simpson-Webster City ©Mike Brynes 2017

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Jenny Simpson-Webster City
©Mike Brynes 2017

REIGNING OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, 6 AMERICAN RECORD HOLDERS TO HIGHLIGHT FIRST-DAY ACTION

 

How’s this for an opening act on Day One of the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Drake Stadium fans will be graced by the presence of four medalists from the 2016 Olympics and seven current American record holders.

Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St©Latinos Corriendo-2018

 

 

Finals are scheduled in six events, featuring a trio of current American record holders vying for titles in field events.

 

Preliminary qualifying rounds will be held in nine running events on the blue oval with Matthew Centrowitz, reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500, headlining the men’s entries.

 

There are also four women’s American record holders on the track led by Molly Huddle, who is favored in the first running final – the women’s 10,000 scheduled at 7 p.m.

 

Emma Coburn(women’s steeplechase), Jenny Simpson(2 mile) and Ajee’ Wilson(800) are expected to lead the qualifying rounds in their respective races.

 

Centrowitz, who also won the 1500 at the 2016 World Indoor Championships, returns to Drake Stadium where he won his first U.S. Outdoor title in 2013. Since then he’s also won national outdoor titles in 2015 and 2016. Centrowitz became the first American to win the gold medal in the Olympics since Mel Sheppard in 1908.

 

Native Iowans Simpson(Webster City, Iowa) and Shelby Houlihan(Sioux City, Iowa) renew their rivalry in the first round of the women’s 1500 qualifying. Houlihan, who ran in the 5000 at the 2016 Olympics, won the women’s 1,500 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., May 26 running in a then world-leading3 minutes 59.06 seconds, while upsetting Simpson who placed third-3:59.37.

 

Simpson has won seven career U.S. Outdoor national titles including the last four straight years in the 1,500.A three-time Olympian, Simpson became the first U.S. woman ever to earn a medal at the Olympics when she placed third in the 1500 at the 2016 Games in Rio DeJaneiro, Brazil. She won the gold medal at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships, while earning a silver medal in 2013.

 

Coburn, who will be seeking her seventh straight U.S. national title in the steeplechase dating back to 2011, set the American mark in the women’s steeplechase each of the last two years en route to becoming the first American woman to win the steeplechase at both the World Championships and Olympics At the 2017 World Championships in London, Coburn lowered here steeplechase mark to 9:-2.59, breaking her own American record of 9:07.63 set at the 2016 Olympics. She ranks No. 5 on the 2018 world list at 9:08.13.

 

Wilson, who won a silver medal in the 800 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships, ranks No. 2 on the 2018 world outdoor 800 list at 1:56.86 en route to a second—place finish at the Prefontaine Classic. May 26. Wilson has won six career U.S. national titles in the 800, including outdoor crowns in 2014 and 2017. She set the current American record of 1:55.61 at the 2017 Diamond League meet in Monaco.

 

First-round qualifying in both the men’s 800 and 1,500 feature all six runners who represented Team USA at the 2016 Olympics.

 

The men’s 1500 also includes Robby Andrewsand Ben Blankenship, who both competed at the 2016 Olympics, as well asLeo Manzanowho earned a silver medal in the 1500 at the 2012 London Olympics. Blankenship was fifth in the 1500 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships.

 

Clayton Murphy, who captured a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics,  joins fellow Olympic teammates Boris Berianand Charles Jockin the 800. But the trio will face strong challenges from Isaiah Harris(Penn State) whose time of 1:44.76 to win the NCAA Outdoor meet ranks No. 9 in the world as well as two-time USA Indoor champ Erik Sowinski.

 

The first round of the men’s 100 at 6:10 p.m. features four sprinters ranked among the top six on the 2018  world outdoor list along with current American record holder Tyson Gay(9.69).  Mike Rodgersand Isiah Young, rank No. 2  in the world at 9.92, while Ronnie Baker andNoah Lyles, are No. 5 on the world list at 9.93. Baker won the 60 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships. Lyles won the gold medal in the 100 at the 2016 World Junior Championships and he has run a world leading 19.69 in the 200 this season.

 

Aleia Hobbs, who won thee NCAA titles for LSU this past season, will lead the women’s sprinters in the 100 prelims. Hobbs won the 100 at the NCAA Outdoor meet after earlier anchoring the women’s 4×100 relay to a title. In March she tied the NCAA Indoor collegiate 60 record.

 

American record holders Kara Wingerand Keturah Orjiare favored in the women’s javelin and triple jump respectively.

 

Winger, a three-time Olympian will compete at 5 p.m., set the existing U.S. record of 218-8 in the 2010 USA Championships at Drake Stadium. She will be seeking her eighth national title in the event capturing championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

 

Orji, who set the American record of 48-3 ¼ in the triple jump at the 2016 Summer Olympics, will jump at 5:15 p.m. She closed out her collegiate career at Georgia by winning her fourth straight NCAA Outdoor triple jump title June 9. She also became just the third woman in NCAA Division I history to claim outdoor titles in the long jump and triple jump in the same season. Orji is ranked No. 5 in the world in 2018 in the triple jump, soaring 47-11 ¾.

 

Huddletook advantage of Almaz Ayana’s world-record pace to run an American record of 30:13.17 en route to a sixth-place finish in the 10,000 at the 2016 Olympics. The former 10-time NCAA All-American is aiming for her fourth straight national title in the 10,000. She was 11thin the 5,000 at the 2012 London Olympics and won both the 5,000 and 10,000 titles at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

 

The women’s discuss final at 2 p.m., features 2016 Olympians Whitney Ashleyand Kelsey Cardalong with 2012 Olympian Gia Lewis-Smallwood. Recent Arizona State graduate Maggie Ewenmade history by becoming just the fifth woman in NCAA Division I history to pick up outdoor titles in the shot put and discus in the same season, including being the first to do so since 2000. She captured the shot put title (62-10¾) just two days before winning the discus on her final throw (198-5). Ewen had already picked up the indoor shot put national title while setting collegiate records during the outdoor season in the hammer throw and the shot put.

 

Finals also will be held in the men’s 10,000-meter run (7:40 p.m.) featuring 2016 Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir,—the top ranked American who owns the ninth fastest time in the world this season at 27:39.65 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, Calif., May 3. Kipchirchir was ninth in the 10,000 at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships.

 

Look for 2016 Olympian Zachery Ziemek as the decathlon begins its opening day of competition.

 

The men’s 20k race walk will conclude Thursday’s opening session starting at 8:40 p.m.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St
©Latinos Corriendo-2018

Thursday, June 21 USA Track & Field Championship Preview-Mike Mahon

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Jenny Simpson-Webster City ©Mike Brynes 2017

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU and Jenny Simpson-Webster City
©Mike Brynes 2017

REIGNING OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST, 6 AMERICAN RECORD HOLDERS TO HIGHLIGHT FIRST-DAY ACTION

 

How’s this for an opening act on Day One of the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Drake Stadium fans will be graced by the presence of four medalists from the 2016 Olympics and seven current American record holders.

Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St©Latinos Corriendo-2018

 

 

Finals are scheduled in six events, featuring a trio of current American record holders vying for titles in field events.

 

Preliminary qualifying rounds will be held in nine running events on the blue oval with Matthew Centrowitz, reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 1,500, headlining the men’s entries.

 

There are also four women’s American record holders on the track led by Molly Huddle, who is favored in the first running final – the women’s 10,000 scheduled at 7 p.m.

 

Emma Coburn(women’s steeplechase), Jenny Simpson(2 mile) and Ajee’ Wilson(800) are expected to lead the qualifying rounds in their respective races.

 

Centrowitz, who also won the 1500 at the 2016 World Indoor Championships, returns to Drake Stadium where he won his first U.S. Outdoor title in 2013. Since then he’s also won national outdoor titles in 2015 and 2016. Centrowitz became the first American to win the gold medal in the Olympics since Mel Sheppard in 1908.

 

Native Iowans Simpson(Webster City, Iowa) and Shelby Houlihan(Sioux City, Iowa) renew their rivalry in the first round of the women’s 1500 qualifying. Houlihan, who ran in the 5000 at the 2016 Olympics, won the women’s 1,500 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., May 26 running in a then world-leading3 minutes 59.06 seconds, while upsetting Simpson who placed third-3:59.37.

 

Simpson has won seven career U.S. Outdoor national titles including the last four straight years in the 1,500.A three-time Olympian, Simpson became the first U.S. woman ever to earn a medal at the Olympics when she placed third in the 1500 at the 2016 Games in Rio DeJaneiro, Brazil. She won the gold medal at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships, while earning a silver medal in 2013.

 

Coburn, who will be seeking her seventh straight U.S. national title in the steeplechase dating back to 2011, set the American mark in the women’s steeplechase each of the last two years en route to becoming the first American woman to win the steeplechase at both the World Championships and Olympics At the 2017 World Championships in London, Coburn lowered here steeplechase mark to 9:-2.59, breaking her own American record of 9:07.63 set at the 2016 Olympics. She ranks No. 5 on the 2018 world list at 9:08.13.

 

Wilson, who won a silver medal in the 800 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships, ranks No. 2 on the 2018 world outdoor 800 list at 1:56.86 en route to a second—place finish at the Prefontaine Classic. May 26. Wilson has won six career U.S. national titles in the 800, including outdoor crowns in 2014 and 2017. She set the current American record of 1:55.61 at the 2017 Diamond League meet in Monaco.

 

First-round qualifying in both the men’s 800 and 1,500 feature all six runners who represented Team USA at the 2016 Olympics.

 

The men’s 1500 also includes Robby Andrewsand Ben Blankenship, who both competed at the 2016 Olympics, as well asLeo Manzanowho earned a silver medal in the 1500 at the 2012 London Olympics. Blankenship was fifth in the 1500 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships.

 

Clayton Murphy, who captured a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics,  joins fellow Olympic teammates Boris Berianand Charles Jockin the 800. But the trio will face strong challenges from Isaiah Harris(Penn State) whose time of 1:44.76 to win the NCAA Outdoor meet ranks No. 9 in the world as well as two-time USA Indoor champ Erik Sowinski.

 

The first round of the men’s 100 at 6:10 p.m. features four sprinters ranked among the top six on the 2018  world outdoor list along with current American record holder Tyson Gay(9.69).  Mike Rodgersand Isiah Young, rank No. 2  in the world at 9.92, while Ronnie Baker andNoah Lyles, are No. 5 on the world list at 9.93. Baker won the 60 at the 2018 World Indoor Championships. Lyles won the gold medal in the 100 at the 2016 World Junior Championships and he has run a world leading 19.69 in the 200 this season.

 

Aleia Hobbs, who won thee NCAA titles for LSU this past season, will lead the women’s sprinters in the 100 prelims. Hobbs won the 100 at the NCAA Outdoor meet after earlier anchoring the women’s 4×100 relay to a title. In March she tied the NCAA Indoor collegiate 60 record.

 

American record holders Kara Wingerand Keturah Orjiare favored in the women’s javelin and triple jump respectively.

 

Winger, a three-time Olympian will compete at 5 p.m., set the existing U.S. record of 218-8 in the 2010 USA Championships at Drake Stadium. She will be seeking her eighth national title in the event capturing championships in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

 

Orji, who set the American record of 48-3 ¼ in the triple jump at the 2016 Summer Olympics, will jump at 5:15 p.m. She closed out her collegiate career at Georgia by winning her fourth straight NCAA Outdoor triple jump title June 9. She also became just the third woman in NCAA Division I history to claim outdoor titles in the long jump and triple jump in the same season. Orji is ranked No. 5 in the world in 2018 in the triple jump, soaring 47-11 ¾.

 

Huddletook advantage of Almaz Ayana’s world-record pace to run an American record of 30:13.17 en route to a sixth-place finish in the 10,000 at the 2016 Olympics. The former 10-time NCAA All-American is aiming for her fourth straight national title in the 10,000. She was 11thin the 5,000 at the 2012 London Olympics and won both the 5,000 and 10,000 titles at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

 

The women’s discuss final at 2 p.m., features 2016 Olympians Whitney Ashleyand Kelsey Cardalong with 2012 Olympian Gia Lewis-Smallwood. Recent Arizona State graduate Maggie Ewenmade history by becoming just the fifth woman in NCAA Division I history to pick up outdoor titles in the shot put and discus in the same season, including being the first to do so since 2000. She captured the shot put title (62-10¾) just two days before winning the discus on her final throw (198-5). Ewen had already picked up the indoor shot put national title while setting collegiate records during the outdoor season in the hammer throw and the shot put.

 

Finals also will be held in the men’s 10,000-meter run (7:40 p.m.) featuring 2016 Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir,—the top ranked American who owns the ninth fastest time in the world this season at 27:39.65 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in Stanford, Calif., May 3. Kipchirchir was ninth in the 10,000 at the 2017 World Outdoor Championships.

 

Look for 2016 Olympian Zachery Ziemek as the decathlon begins its opening day of competition.

 

The men’s 20k race walk will conclude Thursday’s opening session starting at 8:40 p.m.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St
©Latinos Corriendo-2018

“Heroism…” by Terry Herrsom For the Sioux City Journal

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Mike Mahon 2016

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon 2016

Following this past weekend’s USATF Indoor Nationals and Sioux City Native Shelby Houlihan won the 3K and the 1500m, the Sioux City Journal published the following article.  For the full article click here!

Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St©Latinos Corriendo 2018

On Monday, the day after winning national championships on consecutive days for a second year in a row, Shelby Houlihan might have felt like taking a holiday, kicking back and relaxing.

That’s not how it works for most world-class athletes and Houlihan is certainly in that elite category.

No loafing for this 2011 East High grad. To the contrary, she boarded a 6 a.m. flight in Albuquerque and jetted home to Portland, where she spent just enough time to drop off her bags, do a telephone interview with me and then headed out for her daily 80-minute run.

Eighty minutes a day gets her somewhere close to 80 miles each week and that’s the level she’s reached after stretching things out gradually over her first three-plus years as a professional athlete.

A 2016 Olympic finalist in the women’s 5,000 meters. Houlihan repeated Saturday as the 3,000-meter champion at the USA Track and Field Indoor Nationals. Then, on Sunday, she reigned for a second year in a row as the national champ in the 1,500.

Since track and field isn’t as familiar as football or baseball to most sports fans, let me point something out here: When it comes to women’s indoor track, there are only six individual running events in the USATF indoor meet. That means Shelby is now the two-time defending national champion in a third of those.

This particular weekend double will now also send her to Birmingham, England, for the IAAF World Indoor Championships the weekend after next (March 1-4).

And, by the way, contrary to her initial plans, Houlihan will be vying for medals in both of her events.

“Jerry (Schumacher) had told me I probably wouldn’t (run the 1,500 in Birmingham),’’ she said, referring to her highly acclaimed coach with the Portland-based Nike/Bowerman Track Club. “So, I was telling people I wasn’t. But then after I won, he came up to me and said, yeah, we’re going to do both.’’

Even though she’d also won both events at last year’s indoor nationals, Houlihan had focused most of her training on the 3,000. Two weekends ago in Boston she clocked an 8:36.01, marking the second fastest time ever by an American woman. Running at over 5,000 feet above sea level Saturday, the times were predictably slower and she won in 9:00.08.

“I knew my strength was in the 3K, so I was mostly just focusing on that,’’ she said. “Going into the (1,500) it was just kind of for fun. I didn’t even think I was going to win that, especially going into that final lap. I just felt I was too far back (fifth place with 200 meters remaining). But I just kind of kept driving forward and running as fast as I could. I was hoping I could just pick some places off and finish as high as I could and I actually ended up winning.’’

The time two weeks ago in Boston, of course, was more than 80 seconds faster than that and don’t forget these indoor tracks are nearly all 200-meter ovals, which means 15 laps, not 7.5. That’s 60 turns instead of 30 in an outdoor race.

Dylan Kalinay-S. Tama-Simpson
©Jim Kirby-2017

Next Level Iowa Podcast #654 January 24, 2018: Dylan Kalinay

Dylan Kalinay-S. Tama-Simpson ©Jim Kirby

Dylan Kalinay-S. Tama-Simpson
©Jim Kirby

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we cover all of the latest indoor meet results featuring our Iowans and adopted Iowans, and we talk with Simpson Senior Dylan Kalinay-S. Tama-Simpson and his preparation and goals for this coming indoor and outdoor seasons.

Mike and I also consider some of the other “NEXTIE” award winners from 2017.  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!

 

Alex Gouchenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas

Alex Gouchenour: 2017 NEXTIE AWARD WINNER-Multis!

Alex Gochenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas ©Darren Miller

Alex Gochenour-Logan Magnolia-Arkansas
©Darren Miller

Alex Gochenour, Logan Magnolia HS and U of Arkansas graduate led a USA 1-5 sweep of the Thorpe Cup Heptathlon.  Gochenour who has graduated and is competing professionally had a score of 5,898 in securing the win.

Kurtis Brondyke, Clinton HS and Central College, has also graduated from college and is training and coaching at Central Missouri.  Brondyke was 5th overall and the #2 American in the Thorpe Cup Decathlon.

The Thorpe Cup is an international track and field Combined Events competition between USA and Germany.  Teams are made up of up to seven men and seven women who compete in decathlon and heptathlon.

Read more: 2017 Thorpe Cup – USA vs Germany Combined Events – info/results – 07/29/17

Mike Jay
Phil Coppess-Oxford Junction
©Pioneer Press-www.twincities.com

Where Are They Now?: Phil Coppess

Phil Coppess-Oxford Junction ©NY Times

Phil Coppess-Oxford Junction
©NY Times

Phil Coppess

More often than not, when a track coach tells a young runner that he is “more fit for the marathon,” than a regular season track event, it is because the lad is a bit slow and the coach doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.

Feature photo: Twin Cities Pioneer Press, click here!

This was not the case when Coach Bill Kackley conveyed his opinion to a gangly, young distance runner by the name of Phil Coppess.

Coppess did not go out for track until his sophomore year in high school.   Despite the late start, he showed he had running and racing ability by winning 5 state titles, one coming in cross country and four in track, before graduating in 1972 from now defunct, Oxford Junction High School.   But, it was the talent he showed after reaching the age of 27 that shocked everyone; everyone but Phil Coppess.

Phil is a great story.    He has a storyline that is better than many movies about distance running that have ever hit the big screen.    He is a common ordinary factory worker now living in Clinton, Iowa who never gave up on his dream.

Coppess was the youngest of nine children from Oxford Junction in northeastern Iowa. As a high school runner, he was not especially fast but prevailed in distance runs, the longer the better, with remarkable endurance and sheer determination.

“Our family wasn’t rich,” he said. “If I went to college, it was going to have to be a full ride, and there were a lot of kids faster than me. I ran a couple track meets that summer after I graduated, in 1972, and that was about it. Said, guess I’m going to have to get a job.”

By 1974, Coppess was married and working the corn evaporator at the Archer Daniels Midland processing plant in Clinton. That year, he and his wife had their first child. There was no time for running, especially after a daughter was born in 1977 and another son in 1980.

But during a 1979 strike at ADM in Clinton, Coppess got a job at a nuclear plant in Cordova, Illinois, where he observed some of the office workers going for a run on their lunch hour.

Coppess thought, “I used to do that” and took up running again in 1980.  He trained hard while working in the factory and raising a family as a divorced father of three.  While training with the likes of Gregg Newell and Jim Ijams, his times dropped like a rock and the medals, trophies and records began to multiply.

In 1981 he won the Drake Relays Marathon, the Huntsville Alabama Marathon and the Chicago Marathon, in 2:16, beating two time Olympic Marathon medalist Frank Shorter along the way.

After Chicago, Shorter had this to say about Coppess:   “Phil may get mad at me for saying this, but he didn’t have a heck of a lot of talent, yet he ran nearly as fast as I did in the marathon.  Our PR’s are very close.  The reason is, he was willing to work, and that is what showed through in Phil”.

1985 was the magic year for the small town boy from northeast Iowa.  He ran over 40 races that year.  His times got better, at every distance, from the mile through the marathon.

Coppess had eventually designed a training regimen that dovetailed with his rotating shifts at ADM (a corn processing plant) in Clinton and his parenting responsibilities; he was awarded full custody of the children in a 1985 divorce. He ran 14 to 15 miles on work days, longer on his days off, carrying a palm-sized stopwatch to record each mile. “I didn’t think it was a good 20-miler unless I had gone under two hours,” he said. One day a week, he did a track workout, and on another, hills. Physical therapy consisted of weekly chiropractic adjustments.

He won the Lincoln Marathon, and a marathon in Auckland, New Zealand.  And 32 years later, Phil Coppess’ course records still stand.

In early October, 1985, he took a weekend off and flew to Minneapolis.  His parents made the five-and-a-half-hour drive with his three children.  Coppess was confident that he could break 2:11, at the Twin Cities Marathon , which he figured would be good enough for first place. As always, his strategy was simple: go out hard, a pace just under five minutes per mile, and keep it up for 26.2 miles. If others wanted to go with him, fine, and if they didn’t, that was fine, too.

On October 6, 1985, Phil, was on his way to setting the course record with a winning time of 2 hours 10 minutes and 5 seconds. The second-place finisher was three minutes behind.   Coppess’s time was the fastest by an American that year, and at the time, ranked him among the top 20 American marathoners ever, just ahead of Frank Shorter.  Track and Field News named him the US Marathoner of the year.  He was also selected American Road Runner of the Year by Road Runners Club of America.

Twin Cities timed the 30K and 20 mile splits in route.  Coppess’ 30K split was a world record time (stood for 20 years) and his 20 mile mark set a new American record (still stands).

Coppess is an Iowa road racing legend.  He became a fixture at the world renowned Bix 7, placing in the top 10 in 1981, 82, 83, 85 and 86.  He took fourth behind Rob DeCastella, Bill Rogers and Frank Shorter in 1982 and was third behind Mark Curp and Rodgers in 1986.  Six times he broke 35:00 at Bix.

Coppess says his best road race in Iowa was the 1985 Dam to Dam 20K in Des Moines where he set new PR’s for both the 10 mile and 20K.  Both 10K splits were under 30 minutes in route to his winning time of 59:23.

Some more of Phil Coppess’ Road PR’s:

10K-28:49, Mobile Alabama

7 Mile-33:29, Bix 7, Davenport, Iowa

10 Mile-47:23, Bobby Crim, Flint Michigan

20K-59:23, Dam to Dam, Des Moines, Iowa

Phil also holds the two fastest times for a marathon by a native Iowan: 2:10:05-Twin Cities and 2:11:34 in Auckland, New Zealand.

While he seemed unstoppable in races, by 1986 injuries did what competition couldn’t:  Slow him down.

Back problems came in 1987 and he was never the same after that, bringing his competitive running career to a halt in 1989.

Coppess quit at ADM in 1986 and now works as an Ultrasonic Inspector at Arconic (formerly Alcoa) in the Quad Cities.  He finished his BA, in Education, from Marycrest in Davenport, Iowa in 1990.

Phil got back into the road racing scene, albeit for a short time, when he reached “Masters Age Group” status .  He set the Iowa All Time Best masters mark for a road 8k when he ran 25:59 at the 5th Season 8K in Cedar Rapids, in 1995 at the age of 40.  His last race was in early 1997.

Phil Coppess was inducted into the Iowa Association of Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame in 2014.

Obsie Birru-Johnston-Grand View
©Doug Wells-2016

Obsie Making Her Name Known Out East

Obsie Birru-Johnston-Grand View ©Doug Wells

Obsie Birru-Johnston-Grand View
©Doug Wells

NE Distance website is centered in Rhode Island and whose mission is to promote and support post collegiate athletes and runners. Recently NE Distance published a story featuring Obsie Birru-Johnston-Grand View, introducing her to their subscribers.  While Obsie is well known and loved by all of us, those out east will soon fall in love with her as well.  Below is a portion of NE Distance’s article.  For the full article, click here! Feature photo ©Doug Wells -2016

.              

Obsie Birru joined the NE Distance Athlete-in-Residence program in August of 2017. Obsie, a 28 year old Ethiopian-born, American-raised, and self-proclaimed proud Iowa girl, comes to Providence directly from her hometown of Des Moines, IA, where she has been working as a Supporting Teacher in a kindergarten classroom for the last three years. It was while getting her degree in Health Promotions and Wellness Management at Grand View University where Obsie burst onto the running scene. By the time she graduated in 2012, she had become one of the most decorated NAIA athletes in history. During her time at Grand View, she was three-times named the National Runner of the Week, was an astounding eighteen-time All-American, and was a five-time National Champion in the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon.

Obsie joins NE Distance with a desire to help NE Distance continue to pursue its unique dual mission. With three years of experience working with young children, she is eager to begin coaching at the middle school level. She looks forward to sharing her love of running and knowledge of the sport with both the youth athletes as well as the RI running community as a whole. Athletically, she is excited to train and compete alongside NE Distance’s Women’s Elite Team as she continues to chase down her running dreams.

Allyson Felix
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relay Alums Make Us Proud in London

Omar McLeod- Jamaica ©Jim Kirby

Omar McLeod- Jamaica
©Jim Kirby

With the 2017 IAAF Track & Field World Championships concluding this past weekend in London, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee had alumni posting many outstanding medal winning performances to garner 10 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze medals during the event.  Individual gold medal winners who competed at the 2017 Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee included Kori Carter (400mH), Phyllis Francis (400m), Sam Kendricks (Pole Vault), Omar McLeod (110mH) and Brittney Reese (Long Jump).

Courtesy Drake Relays, click here! Feature photo: Allyson Felix ©Jim Kirby 2013

Overall, the United States set a team record for the most medals at the World Championships with 30 (10-gold, 11-silver, 9-bronze) while three-time Drake Relays champion Brittney Reese became the first woman to win four World long jump gold medals and only the second woman to win four golds in a single event (Valerie Adams, shot put).  Below is a listing of the medalists with their last appearance year at the Relays in parentheses.  Unless noted otherwise, athletes represented the United States.

Women

 

  • Shelby Houlihan-5K (2017 Bowerman Track Club)
  • Morolake Akinosun – Gold-4x100m Relay (2016-Texas)
  • Kori Carter – Gold-400m Hurdles (2017)
  • Michelle Carter – Bronze-Shot Put (2016)
  • Allyson Felix – Bronze-400m, Gold-4x100m Relay, Gold-4x400m Relay (2006)
  • Phyllis Francis – Gold-400m, Gold-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Dawn Harper-Nelson – Silver-100m Hurdles (2017)
  • Shaunae Miller-Uibo (Bahamas) – Bronze-200m (2013-Georgia)
  • Sandi Morris – Silver-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Dalilah Muhammad – Silver-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Brittney Reese – Gold-Long Jump (2017)
  • Yarisley Silva (Cuba) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2014)
  • Jenny Simpson – Silver-1500m (2017)
  • Ekaterini Stefanidi (Greece) – Gold-Pole Vault (2016)
  • Ristananna Tracey (Jamaica) – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2015)
  • Ajee Wilson – Bronze-800m (2015)

    Men

  • Will Claye – Silver-Triple Jump (2016)
  • Kerron Clement – Bronze-400m Hurdles (2016)
  • Sam Kendricks – Gold-Pole Vault (2017)
  • Renaud Lavillenie (France) – Bronze-Pole Vault (2015)
  • Jarrion Lawson – Silver-Long Jump (2015-Arkansas)
  • Wil London – Silver-4x400m Relay (2016-Baylor)
  • Omar McLeod – Gold-110m Hurdles (2017)
  • Gil Roberts – Silver-4x400m Relay (2015)
  • Mike Rodgers – Silver-4x100m Relay (2007)
  • Jarrin Solomon (Trinidad & Tobago) – Gold 4x400m Relay (2013)
  • Christian Taylor – Gold-Triple Jump (2017)
  • Rabah Yousif (Great Britain) – Bronze-4x400m Relay (2016)
  • Stipe Žunic (Croatia) – Bronze-Shot Put (2012-Florida)
Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club
©Michael Scott http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

The World Knows Shelby Now: by Nicole Bush of Citrus Mag

 

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Citrus Mag is a publication dedicated to running.  Early this summer  Citrus Mag’s Nicole Bush posted this story about Shelby Houlihan.  As Shelby has qualified for the 5k final at the World Championships in London (in a personal best time of 15:00), we thought it would be a good time to share a portion Nicole’s story.

For the full story, click here!    Feature photo: Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Bowerman track Club©Michael Scott http://miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

Before the 2016 Millrose Games in New York City, Houlihan had only run a handful of 5,000-meter races. She’d run 5,000 meters at conference meets to assist for points toward a team score. She contested it at an NCAA regional and then once more at the national championship “just to run it” because it was her last NCAA meet and the schedule permitted it after her 1,500 meter focus.

But, she had never really chased a fast time in a 5,000 until the 2016 Millrose Games in New York City. Running 25 laps at the Armory’s 200-meter banked track wasn’t the initial intention.

“I actually wanted to do the mile at Millrose and I couldn’t get in,” said Houlihan.

After receiving this news, according to Houlihan, she and coach Jerry Schumacher had a conversation that went something like:

Jerry: Alright, we’ll just stick you in the 5k. I think you could run a good 5k. You’ve been hanging with Emily and Betsy and stuff.

Shelby: Alright (while shrugging).

But Houlihan had never actually run a 5K to really run it.

“So, I was kind of nervous about it–but at the same time, there was no pressure,” Houlihan said.

She went out with her Bowerman Track Club teammates and hung on to the hot pace from the front by Emily Infeld and Betsy Saina. She sustained it for as long as she could before crossing the finish line in 15:06 – nearly 43 seconds faster than anything she had run before.

Houlihan attributes the successful run to the presence of her teammates and a vibe she’s used to, saying, “I mean, I do that everyday in practice.”

After that Millrose performance, according to Houlihan, she and Schumacher had a conversation that went something like:

Jerry: …I think we’re gonna do the 5k this year.

Shelby: *silent nod in confirmation* *probably smiling*

“So that’s kinda how it happened,” said Houlihan.

That is also kind of how the universe shifted for her.

After such a successful run at Millrose, she did not run another 5K until the prelim at the Olympic Trials nearly five months later.

What was that like jumping events, only really running it once–five months–before the Olympic Trials and then toeing the line with so many women with such cachet in the event? Well, she was kind of nervous. But, at the same time, she said, “After Millrose I was pretty mad at myself because I felt like I could run faster.”

At Millrose, she thought she was kind of a “wimp,” that she should have “gone around Abbey (D’Agostino)” and that she should have “hung onto that lead pack.” Instead, she got in her own head and didn’t do any of that.

“So I was really mad at myself about that and I think it was actually better for me not to race it again,” Houlihan says.” Because then I had this fire in me, like, ‘I need to do this again. I know I can do better.’”

She returned to the distance on a stage that she had never been on and in an event she had never run that seriously.

So what, she was a little nervous. But her workouts had been going well and when she saw her teammate in Infeld make the 10,000-meter team, Houlihan said she thought to herself, “Well, she can make the team–I can make the team because, we workout everyday.”

She was also the last athlete of Schumacher’s group to race, as the 5,000 meter final was on the last day of the Trials. And all of her teammates were making the Olympic Team. Houlihan said she thought to herself, “Well I have to make the team now. Because, otherwise it’ll be embarrassing if I don’t. Like, I’ll be the one that doesn’t.”

If you were paying the slightest bit of attention to Houlihan on the track during that 5,000 meter final, it was on her face and in her body language; it didn’t really matter who was on the track or what they had done–it was all irrelevant and it didn’t matter. She was going to do whatever the race required of her–whatever needed to be done, whatever it took–and make the Olympic Team.

It just looked like…

“…we’re going for it,” Houlihan said.

And that was exactly the energy and focus that backed up her thought process going into the race.

This is the plan and we’re executing.

We’re going for it.

“I had actually written on my mirror, like two months out, ‘I will be an Olympian’,” Houlihan said.

But then, like all meaningful and exciting goals do–regardless of size–it started to pervade her thoughts.

I will be an Olympian

“I saw it every single day and I was telling myself it. It kind of made it–so when it actually came around to that time–I was like, ‘Yeah, I can do this. Like–yeah’,” Houlihan said.

It became decidedly true.

She had been telling herself she would be an Olympian everyday for two months and it became more of a matter of fact than a far off dream for four years from now. Combine that conviction with seeing all of her Bowerman teammates make the team–in a way normalizing it–and she had an attitude of:

“I can definitely do this,” Houlihan recalls telling herself.

And so she did it.

She became an Olympian at 23, in an event she had only ever raced with complete seriousness about four times.

With personal bests in the 1,500 and 800 of 4:03.3 and 2:01.1 respectively. Being able to split 54 for a 400 relay leg. Being a NCAA Champion and NCAA runner-up at 1,500-meters; Houlihan’s talent goes without saying, because it should be obvious.

But what elevates this Iowa native to such performances as 11th in the world her first time at the Olympics; her 6th time running the event in earnest?

It could be her love of Harry Potter. Her Patronus is a unicorn–or well, maybe it’s a beagle. She said she took a Patronus quiz and got a beagle but that she was “not happy about it”. Because she doesn’t think that’s what her Patronus is. “It should be–a unicorn,” she said.

Plus, she doesn’t even like dogs, she said. So obviously, it’s a unicorn.

Houlihan’s heightened performance is attributed to her love of the spirit of Harry Potter. But not really.

Houlihan current racing prowess can be attributed to a few things.

Joining Bowerman

According to Houlihan she “was debating on staying in Arizona” and training with her coach, Louie Quintana, at ASU. But he guided her in another direction.

Houlihan said Quintana is close with Schumacher in that they talk once in awhile. Quintana knew that she was debating staying in Tempe and that she loves Arizona.Initially, she really didn’t want to move to Portland, where the Bowerman Track Club is based.

Quintana told her that he would love to have her in Tempe to train with him and the team.  But then they had a conversation that went something like:

Louie: But I mean, if Jerry wants [to coach] you, you should probably go to his group, because, he’s a great coach.

Shelby: Alright, yeah, you’re right. I know what I should do.

So to Portland she a-goed.

The smooth transition

Houlihan will aptly say it herself, that her transition from collegiate to professional went smoothly. Which isn’t the typical experience for post-collegiates. It’s typical for it to be anywhere from a little bit rocky to a lot a bit avalanche. So for athletes and fans everywhere, Houlihan’s transition is remarkable–literally, people remark about it.

Schumacher “has coached a lot of good athletes,” Houlihan said. Which also goes without saying, in the track world. “I immediately just trusted him. Which is what you have to do. You just have to be in and believe that it’s going to work.”

You have got to have faith. Houlihan season ‘15-’16: case in point.

What Houlihan thinks might be the bigger deal for such a seamless adjustment is staying healthy.

“I think staying healthy all four years of college and each year increas[ing] my mileage a little bit–to get stronger and just having those building to training–finally kind of stack up,” she said.

Setting her up pretty perfectly to begin adapting to Schumacher’s workload.

“And,” Houlihan said, “Doing the work.”

Then, the adaptation.

“His workouts were way more intense and I was getting my butt kicked every week. I would get my butt kicked every week and, like, just lay in bed the rest of the day–because I just couldn’t move,” Houlihan said.

This was a change of pace–quite literally– for Houlihan:

“In college I felt like I’d have a couple hard workouts a year that were really hard. So just the improvement in that intensity level, I think, is what really kind of skyrocketed me to the next level.”

Also, some luck. In a such a planned, calculated sport–there’s always room for it.

“Everything came together at the right moments. So, that was also luck,” Houlihan said. “I could have definitely hurt myself trying to keep up with Betsy and Emily but, it ended up being fine.”

Perfectly fine.

 

“My future’s going to be great,” adds Houlihan.

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson Surprises Herself For Silver at Worlds

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Paul Merca 2017

Our own Jenny Simpson surprised even herself at the end of the World Championship Women’s 1500m in London on Monday. Below is an excerpt of Deadspin’s Dan McQuade article covering Simpson’s shock at her late race heroics. For the complete story at Deadspin.com, click here!

Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Paul Merca 2017

The women’s 1500 meters headlined the fourth day of the IAAF World Championships in track and field, and it was a worthy main event for the London crowd. Great Britain’s Laura Muir led the pack through the first 800 meters at 2:17, at which point the race turned into a sprint.

Sifan Hassan, the bronze medalist in the event two years ago, ran from last place into the lead. But Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, the defending Olympic champion, and American Jenny Simpson were right with her. Meanwhile, Caster Semenya lurked just behind.

The last lap was the best lap of these championships so far. (Jenny Meadows said it was one of the best races she’d ever seen!) Hassan and Kipyegon got a healthy lead on everyone, then both started to break down on the final stretch, and the rest of the pack surged. Kipyegon held on for first place in 4:02.59, Jenny Simpson took second, and Semenya beat out Muir for third.

 But it appeared Simpson didn’t realize she took silver until Laura Weightman pointed it out to her, as you can see above. Then she decided to sprint across the track for a celebration that lasted nearly 30 seconds—after running 1500 meters in just more than four minutes.

Her post-race celebration was made all the better because of what happened when Simpson won the 1500 meters back at the 2011 World Championships; winning on a late kick, she reacted like she had no idea she’d just won the world title.